July 28, 2011
Cucumbers
Photo by Jessica Walliser
I’m ready to turn my first cucumbers of the season into pickles!

I harvested the first cucumbers of the season tonight—39 beauties! I could barely lift the basket when I was finished. I planted about five different cucumber varieties hoping that if some of them died from bacterial wilt, I would still have others continue to produce. (Death by bacterial wilt usually ends up happening at some point in the season, but I haven’t seen a single cucumber beetle so far this year so maybe that won’t be the case this summer.) I plan to make my first batch of dill pickles tomorrow afternoon followed by bread and butters sometime this weekend. I’d better run to the store for more vinegar.

I have yet to harvest my first tomato of the season. I think this is the latest I’ve ever had to wait and I think it’s going to be a pretty crummy harvest from the looks of it. There are barely any fruits on the vines and those that are present, are still pretty puny. Even the cherry tomatoes aren’t ripening yet. A few of my gardening friends and my mother are all having the same issues this year. Wonder what’s up with that.

I have slawed several heads of cabbage so far and have been enjoying a few handfuls of green beans every day or two. The onions and garlic are ready to harvest already and the giant pumpkin we planted in the compost bin has started gobbling up the world. No baby pumpkins yet though, just male flowers.

We also harvested our first fennel bulbs last week, and I grilled them. I admit that I have no idea what I am doing with them in the kitchen so they were nearly too tough to eat. It was my first year growing them, and they were small,l but I think that’s the best we can do growing them here in western Pennsylvania. Anyone have any preparation suggestions for bulb fennel? I hear they are good with sea scallops but I’m open to any recipes you’ve got! Thanks!


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